Not enough of Christmas joys
Without a Christmas story, boys?
Methinks I've just the one for you,
And what is better still, 'tis true.
Then lend your ears and bright young eyes
While I recount that grand surprise
Of Washington's long years ago,
Amid the Winter's cold and snow.
'Twas in our country's stern old fight
For Independence and the right.
Within your minds the date well fix
'Twas Christmas night of seventy-six.
Our army, footsore, weary, sad,
In numbers few, ill-fed, ill-clad,
And fearing much the English foe,
Were spending days in want and woe.
The Hessian camp was all aglow,
And freely there the red wines flow;
Their caution on this Christmas night
In revellings had taken flight.
To Washington was known the way,
The Germans oft spent Christmas day,
And so, while they were free from cares,
He planned to take them unawares.
The Delaware between them rolled,
The night was stormy, dark, and cold,
The floating ice blocked up their way,
But on they pressed, and morning gray
Beheld them on the Trenton side
Hard-spent but filled with honest pride;
Then on the Hessian camp they fall,
A thousand prisoners take in all.
With booty, prisoners and all,
They follow at their leader's call;
Again they cross the river wide,
And reach the Pennsylvania side.